Grenfell Tower: 'Social housing tenants are being treated like second-class citizens'

Grenfell Tower: 'Social housing tenants are being treated like second class citizens'

A memorial service is taking place for Grenfell Tower victims

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Social housing tenants are being treated like second-class citizens despite Grenfell Tower, and it's an absolute disgrace.

That's according to social housing expert Luke Doonan, who spoke to Julia Hartley-Brewer on the day a multi-faith memorial service takes place at St Paul's Cathedral for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

It has been six months since the Grenfell Tower fire and currently just one in five households have been permanently rehoused. A public inquiry over the fire is also taking place but a petition has been started arguing there should be more involvement from the community.

Doonan told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “Over the last 15 years 20 years the way we treat people who live in social housing I was born in social housing so I get it...the way we treat as a society people in social housing is absolutely disgraceful.

“People are being completely ignored and council tenants, social housing tenants are being treated like second class citizens.”

But Julia said she had “plenty of absolutely horrible nasty useless private landlords” and questioned whether there was evidence “people living in council housing are uniquely treated badly.”

Julia went on to say: “There seems to have been this view that [Grenfell tenants] were treated badly, they had no say in their building and the cladding was put on because they were poor and no one cared if they died.”

Doonan said hit back and claimed “what you’ve just said is a complete annoyance if you like to me because you’re judging everyone that lives in Grenfell Tower as being poor” which is an “insult.”

Julia explained she was saying it seems to be the “accusation” that “in some way this happened to poor people because they were poor.”

Chairman of the all-party group on fire safety and rescue, Labour MP and former firefighter Jim Fitzpatrick also said: “To characterise [councils] in the way that Luke describes here I don’t recognise that myself."

However the fire is “an absolute disgrace, it besmirches all of us and it should never happen again.”

Listen to the full interview above